Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a different branch of my library system. I explored this library’s much bigger Y book section and came out with a pile of books. I decided to poke around the classic book section as well. There, I found Isaac Asimov’s novel I, Robot, a classic science fiction novel. So, I added it to the pile, and it’s now waiting to be read. Before I started it though, I wanted to know a little bit more about this author. I thought I’d share what I learned about him!
Isaac Asimov was born somewhere between October 4 and January 2, 1920. His exact birth date is not known. Asimov later chose to celebrate his birthday in January. His parents immigrated to the USA from Russia when he was young, and they lived in New York City. Isaac loved learning and taught himself to read by the age of five. His family owned a candy shop, and Asimov helped out there. On the newsstand in the store, there were some science fiction magazines. Asimov wasn’t allowed to read them, but when a new one appeared on the stand called Science Wonder Stories, Isaac successfully convinced his father to let him read it. From then on, he was a devoted fan of science fiction. At eleven, he decided to try to write his own novel, called The Greenville Chums at College. He never finished it, thinking it wasn’t good enough. At fifteen, he graduated high school and entered Columbia University. He eventually earned his Bachelor of Science degree, and later his M.A., and Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry.
Asimov was a very successful writer who wrote over 500 works, but “Cosmic Corkscrew,” the first short story he submitted for publication, was rejected. The editor of the magazine, John W. Campbell, kindly gave him suggestions for his writing and encouraged him to keep at it. Several years later in 1939 his first short story “Marooned off Vesta” was published in Amazing Stories. His most famous short story is “Nightfall,” and in 1941, it was called the best science fiction story ever written! Asimov’s most famous trilogy, The Foundation Trilogy, was published in 1951-53. I, Robot was published in 1950. In the book, he talked about a positronic brain which later inspired the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, to create the android named Data. Asimov is considered one of the “Big Three” of science fiction writing.
In researching Isaac Asimov, I learned that he enjoyed small, enclosed spaces. He was also terrified of flying, and managed to avoid travelling by plane for most of his life.
Here is an article I found by him where Asimov gives advice to writers about doubts, rejection, and dealing with success. I read the whole thing, and really enjoyed it.
Thanks for reading!